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Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) to Nathaniel Freeman

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05902 Author/Creator: Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) Place Written: Newburyport, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1 May 1789 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 23 x 19 cm.

Summary of Content: An amusing and friendly letter to his former Harvard classmate. Discusses their correspondence. Also discusses the visit to town of two young women (Miss Charlotte Geyer and Miss Breck) who Adams wishes to meet "under the shade of an amorous myrtle." Mentions a magazine and publishing by Geyer and other women. Also comments on his legal education and his study habits: "I have no reason to boast of my industry...mere professional books should claim but a small part of a student's application." Asks for a subscription to the Herald of Freedom.

Full Transcript: Newbury-Port [struck: April] May 1:st 1789.

Five weeks and more, without a Line - But as I have been equally negligent, I cannot blame with a very good grace - Leonard ...White, whom I saw, a day or two since, tells me, you had not time last week to write - I submitted, (as Rochefoucautt says most people submit to die,) merely because I could not help it. Foster will be the bearer of this. he intends to return on Monday or Tuesday and will take a Letter, if you should have more leisure, than
heretofore. - Your situation, independent of your powers of fertility, is such, as supplies you with more materials for epistolary intercourse than mine; and whatever subject you shall please to descant upon; from the sublimities of politics to the inanity of fashions, your communications can never fail to be interesting to me.
This town has been honoured for a fortnight past with two of your Capital beauties; (excuse a little punnology) Miss Charlotte Geyor, the young daughter of Apollo, and Miss Breck; whose reputation for poetical talents, if it is not so extensive, is not perhaps less brilliant. But they have been with Mr. Dalton's [struck: family] daughters. That family have very little connection, with the other youthful damsels in this Town; in consequence of which I have been but once in company with the fair strangers, and then we were encircled, with all the ceremonies of tea-table formality - I received but little enjoyment: - but from the appearance of the Ladies, I thought I should much better relish the [struck: solit] pleasures of a tête â tête with either of them, under the shade of an amorous myrtle, or by the side of a pusling stream.
[2] Miss Geyer denies having any knowledge of the compositions which have been attributed to her; and I find she has been informed that I was suspected of writing the ill-judg'd ungallant irony &c of Celadon, Horatio, and others
Sic vos, non vobis nidificatis aves.
The magazine for April appears this day. - I shall be anxious to receive it. The last was delay'd so that we did not receive it till the middle of the month. We have had an enigmatical list of young Ladies in this place, published in the newspaper. There is an attempt at being emblematical; and although the execution is not equal to the design, yet they are so bitter, as to have given very great offence, to the Ladies, and their connections. The printer himself, who declares he knows not the author, has been in some danger of corporal castigation. The suspicions are however [struck: strongly] suspended in a great measure between the two offices, and Putnam appear to have the largest share.
As to Law, I have no reason to boast of my Industry, since I last came here. I am more and more confirmed in my opinion, that mere professional books, should [struck: be compose] [inserted: claim] but a small part of a students application, and that knowledge of any kind whatever may be usefully applied at the bar. It is probabl[struck: y][inserted: e] that the formidable entrenchments which the venerable Sages of the Law have erected around the Science, may have served not a little to [strikeout] [inserted: strengthen] this idea in my mind. The afternoon I devote altogether to miscellaneous reading or to dissipation, and it seldom happens but some of my morning hours are stolen from the deep researchers of legal metaphysics.
[3] Thompson I imagine will leave us soon. It is something more than probable, that he will be invited to accept the tutorship at College, and he is at present disposed to go. I shall lose an agreeable companions and an amiable friend, but shall derive consolation from the persuasion, that it will [inserted: be] favorable to his own interest. Bridge went home near three weeks since, and will be gone the greater part of the Summer. His absence is a still greater subject of regret, because, when here we are more constantly together. Under those bereavements I shall stand but in greater need of frequent communications from my friends. - I hope you will remember me, and supply your proportion to make up the deficiencies in my happiness.
I wish you to desire your brother to put my name to the list of subscribers for the Herald of Freedom. Foster will pay whatever [text loss: is] usual to advance, or if it is more agreeable to your brother, he will pay for the whole year at once
I saw Dr: Little, a day or two ago. he has not heard from you this long time. It is shrewdly conjectured the Doctor has been tampered with, by the blind little Deity, who is usually more influential with you. The Lady whose eyes have emitted the spark which has kindled this flames is the same, whom I once abused by intruding my opinion concerning her into one of Little's letters to you. - I have too high an opinion of his discernment to believe he has an affection for her: but it is confidently reported.
Mr: Thompson desires me to present his regards to Mr: Freeman.
Adieu J.Q. Adams

[address leaf]
Mr: Nathaniel Freeman.

Boston.
Mr Foster.

See More

People: Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848
Freeman, Nathaniel, 1766-1800

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentWomen's HistoryEducationLawJournalism

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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